Scientists find green alternative for drug production

The production of drugs, pesticides and smart phone displays often demands cost-intensive and wasteful processes. Now, scientists have developed a resource-saving green alternative based on the non-toxic metal manganese.   

For the production of drugs, pesticides and smartphone displays, most of the processes are cost-intensive and generate a large amount of waste.

Now, scientists at the University of Göttingen have succeeded in developing a resource-saving green alternative, announced a statement.

The environmentally friendly strategy uses the naturally occurring non-toxic metal manganese instead of noble transition metals such as palladium or platinum. Traditionally, highly flammable and toxic organic solvents were also used. The new approach instead makes use of water.

According to the researchers, this is possible because a manganese-carbon bond is formed in the reaction. This bond is considerably more stable than comparable bonds between carbon and the highly reactive metals lithium or magnesium.

“The new process makes it possible to cleave a single strong carbon-carbon bond, of which organic compounds contain a large number, and convert it into the desired product,” explained Professor Lutz Ackermann of the university’s Institute of Organic and Biomolecular Chemistry.

In order to achieve the results, experimental laboratory investigations were combined with computer-aided calculations, according to the statement.

“This allowed us to gain detailed insight into the exact mode of action of the catalyst. And this in turn enables us to use the process to manufacture other materials,” added Ackermann.

Photo credit: Michael Mortensen/ CC BY-SA 2.0

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